How to Kill Palm Roots

Updated November 21, 2016

Palm tree roots can cause an extensive damage when the tree has been planted near utility lines of home foundations. Chopping off the top of them may not be enough to eliminate the problem. In fact, the palm can grow back or the roots can become an hospitable environment for pests. It is essential for the health of your yard to kill the palm tree's roots and have them removed from the yard.

Pour water around the palm tree's base to soften the dirt. Expose the root system by digging next to the tree until you see a root. Palm trees have shallow root systems and get most of their nutrients from the topsoil.

Cut the roots, using a pruning saw or pair of bypass shears. Pour more water on the area to expose more of the root system, if necessary.

Lift the palm tree out of the hole. Cut it into manageable pieces and place in compost or trash. If the palm tree died from a fungal infection, avoid placing it in the compost.

Dig up the dirt around the palm's previous location to ensure the entire root system has been removed. Replace the dirt in the hole.

Flatten the area, using a rake. Plant grass or other vegetation over the location.


Contact your local utility company the next time you plant a palm tree to avoid planting over utility lines.


Avoid using herbicide on the area to kill the root system if you plan on growing a new plant in the same location. Herbicide tends to stay in the soil for several weeks or months.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden hose
  • Shovel
  • Pruning saw
  • Bypass shears
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